It’s probably wrong for a competition site that couldn’t continue to make the ‘free model’ work as we’d have liked to commentate on subscription services. However, one of the aims of Loquax back in the day was to provide a service better than those who charged (we did that) and in time inspire those who charged to actually provide something that’s worth paying for. So it you’re forking out dosh you should really be getting a good deal… in fact a better deal than you could get from the free services that are around.
One such subscription service, The National Compers’ Alliance, fascinates us here at Loquax. This is run by our “friends” at Oxfordshire Press – you know the ones who reviewed us in such glowing terms we reported them to ASA. Each year compers receive an email inviting them to join the “UK’s most advanced competition-winning service”. The emails are always long winded and utilise a marketing technique that basically makes you think that this offer is too good to miss out on.
It’s always time limited, the boss is probably going to go nuts if he finds out that places are being offered again and it’s designed to suck you in by throwing pound signs and savings in your general direction. Simply by mish-mashing everything together and creating a confusion to entice you in they are trying their hardest to get you to part with your cash. In many respects it’s quite clever, in others it just looks incredibly spammy.
What we found interesting was the differences in emails over the last few years. We’ve located three different versions of the NCA offer and for a bit of fun decided to have a look at how they differ.
This one kicked off with some National Lottery stats and that the “average UK car competition will receive less than 6,000 entries”. Brigette tells us how she went to Sri Lanka, The Maldives, Lanzarote & Cyprus for free whilst there are loads of other endorsements from happy compers. The cost is £299 and you get a “subscription to the UK’s top three competitions services” plus some free cash to play “on the UK’s only online bingo website just for compers”.
In 2012, The NCA jumped on the feel good factor generated by The Olympics and invited you to go for gold. Brigette’s testimonial has gone and Jackie Davison tells us about a trip to Koh Samui in Thailand. A lot of the other comments have gone but interestingly Roz from Austell – who was in the 2011 newsletter – is also in the 2012 version. Also on the retained list is Edwin Mutton who’s quoted as saying that the publisher “help in the IPM’s campaign to maintain the integrity of the Promotions industry”. That’s good to know!
For this year, out goes The Olympics and in comes… well not a lot that’s really new. The average car comp is still getting 6000 entries, poor Roz has had “no major wins but a steady stream of prizes”, Jackie’s still telling us about her Thailand holiday and Edwin still going on about integrity. On one of the services mentioned the prizes on offer, include “£1000 of shopping vouchers and a selection of Cadbury biscuits” – the same as they did last year.
There are new elements in 2013’s offer though – out goes MyComps (integrated into Simply Prizes) and in comes Competition Club (“the UK’s only social media comping service”) and Puzzles4Prizes – a new service that lets you pay to get answers for Take a Break, Chat etc.
So What’s The Point?
The point here is fairly simple – if you get an offer in your inbox, especially if it relates to comping, don’t take it on face value. Go and do some research! Find out if you’re really getting an offer to good to miss or if you’re just being sent some carefully crafted advert to entice you to part with your money!
Find out if the customer reviews are new! Find out what else might be out there that perhaps might be better value. Also check out the websites that you’ll be using – do they look professional? are they up to date? do they convey trust? It may well be that for you this “deal” is up your street on the other hand forking out £299 plus an annual fee of just under £40 (that’s not a subscription but an admin charge) might be less attractive.
Anyway, you guys are the compers out there… is this a good deal? Have you signed up and got value for money? Or did you find it was a waste of your time and cash? We don’t know the answers – so over to you for your opinion.